George Washington Papers

To George Washington from George Frederick Stume, 20 January 1797

Philada January 20th 1797.

The Memorial of George Frederick Stume formerly a Citizen of Mayence but now of the City of Philadelphia

Most respectfully sheweth

That Your Memorialist after having gone through the Courses of the different Sciences at Several of the European Universities, he was appointed Secretary of the Department of Finance by the Elector of Mayence and also Director of Finance to different noble Families in the Neigbourhood—that Your Memorialist has Since become acquainted with the World partly by Travelling & partly by the Conversation with great & learned Men. & in the Course of his life & more so of latter Years has been enabled to discover the Sentiments of Man relative to Freedom.

That your Memorialist has always been inspired with the Same Sentiments, which his Fellow Citizens entertained (being Subjects & Slaves as well to Spiritual as temporal tyranny) to regain that rational Liberty which Mankind is intitled to—but was never enabled to do any thing for the Cause of Liberty. The rigorous Suppression of every thought & Sentiment about Liberty in the German Dominions being too well known in this Country, It is needless for him to Say that he was deterred from declaring openly his republican Principles.

But when in the year 1792. the combined Powers of Europe thought to destroy a Nation, which wished to become free, and leagued themselves together to extinguish the bright Luminary of Liberty, which rose in the Gallic Empire. When the Host of Foes were driven out of France, and the Heroic Republicans appeared before the Gates of Mayence (in which City Your Memorialist has resided 25 Years & Upwards) and which after a Siege of three Days was with its Inhabitants Surrendered to the Besiegers—(The Elector not having laid any Restriction on his Officers nor on his other Subjects there, relative to the Conquerors, but given them up as a conquered people) Your Memorialist then found himself at Liberty to declare his Republicanism, and was one of the first who took the Republican General Citizen Castine by the hand, and sacrificed there by about four thousand Florins Salary, which he enjoyed by Virtue of his Offices. He being at the Same time established in the Mercantile Business and keeping a large Wholesale Wine Store, which would have afforded a comfortable Living for himself & his family exclusive of those Salaries, if Matter had not turned out otherwise in the Sequel. A National guard was then established, consisting of patriotic Burghers, and Your Memorialist was elected their Colonel & Commander in Chief—and General Castine presented him with the Commission Signed by himself. But Shortly after not only Your Memorialist, but all those patriotic disposed Burghers, who in any way had embraced the french Cause found nothing but inconsistencies in the French General & his associates, of which he at the Same time complained openly. who, while at one time they flattered and entertained them with hopes to gain their Freedom, in the End deceived & forsook them, and left them to deplore their Credulity. When the City was Surrounded by the allied Powers, the Commissary of the french Army, Reubel, now a Member of the Executive Directory in France gave Your Memorialist his Word and honour to take him along with him to France, in Case he would Depart. But he went away and left him to his great Detriment without ever regarding his faithful Promises or assigning the least reasons for it. Your Memorialist then intended to follow them to France, but was disuaded from it on account of the bloody & tyrannical roberspierian Government. He took his Course to Holland leaving his family behind him in Mayence, who experienced in the mean time the most cruel and oppressive Prosecution, as well from the allied troops as from the Aristocrats of that Place, who after his Departure Sequestrated all the Property & Effects of Your Memorialist to a considerable Amount.

Your Memorialist having since exchanged this Land of happiness & Freedom for the Land of Oppression & Slavery has arrived about three Years ago in Philadelphia where he has Settled himself & family for life.

Since that Period your Memorialist has received Letters from his Brother in Law and other friends in Germany, relating to him that the Elector of Mayence has passed a Resolution in his private Council to restore the Sequestrated Estates of the most of the Emigrant among which Your Memorialist’s Estate is comprehended, and as he knows & is well informed that a Number of Hostages from Mayence are now in France remaining for the purpose, that the Government in Mayence Shall restore those Estates In Consequence whereof Your Memorialist intends to make a Voyage to Europe & will present himself before the Executive Directory concerning his Affairs before he will Set off for Mayence.

Your Memorialist is advised to apply to Your Excellency for a Recommendation to the Executive Directory in France, which he conceives will greatly facilitate his Business there, & be a means to obtain much Sooner redress in his native Country and to see himself once more in the Possession of his sequestrated Estate & Property.

Your Memorialist therefore humbly prays, that Your Excellency would be pleased to take the Case into Consideration, and grant him Such relief in the Premises as in Your Wisdom may seem meet. And Your Memorialist is in duty bound will ever pray

George Frk Stume

DNA: RG 59—ML—Miscellaneous Letters.

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